The Student Playlist

Showcasing the Best New Music, Curating the Classics

Category Reviews

REVIEW: Mac DeMarco – ‘Another One’ (Captured Tracks)

by Ed Biggs Canadian-born indie troubadour Mac DeMarco became the toast of the indie underground in 2014 with Salad Days, a breezy album of bedroom song sketches that benefitted from sounding spontaneous and demo-like. He’s following it up with a brace of mini-albums in the form of Some Other Ones (consisting entirely of instrumentals) and Another One. It’s not explicitly personal in the same way as Salad Days – by all

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REVIEW: Health – ‘Death Magic’ (Loma Vista)

by Ed Biggs Los Angeles’ electronic noise-pop outfit Health have experienced commercial success that they almost certainly couldn’t have anticipated over the last few years. Though they haven’t released a proper studio album since 2009’s Get Color, their 2012 soundtrack for Rockstar Games’ blockbuster shooter Max Payne 3 has sold in excess of four million copies.

REVIEW: The National Parks – ‘Until I Live’ (Groundloop)

by Ed Biggs Utah seven-piece band The National Parks found modest success with their 2013 debut album Young, with a certain compositional simplicity in tracks like ‘Helsinki’ and ‘Wind & Anchor’ that showed a natural knack for the intricacies of folk music. For their sophomore effort Until I Live, lead singer Brady Parks has said they’ve attempted to lean in a more populist direction without entirely abandoning the sound of their

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REVIEW: The Maccabees – ‘Marks To Prove It’ (Universal / Fiction)

by Lauren James For some reason, I’ve always associated The Maccabees with indie dance club hooliganism. After a gruelling recording process, they’ve dropped their fourth release – and it wasn’t an easy birth. Written and recorded solely in the band’s small London studio, Marks To Prove It may as well be named after the paranoid wall etchings of a mental patient holed up in a cell. “It’s tough because you’re not

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REVIEW: Lianne La Havas – ‘Blood’ (Warner Bros)

by Ed Biggs Following her well-received 2012 debut Is Your Love Big Enough?, an album of spritely, largely acoustic numbers, British-born singer Lianne La Havas has been plotting her next move carefully in order to find a different home for her versatile voice. Over the last three years, she’s been getting in touch with her Jamaican and Greek roots to produce Blood, an album seeking to channel that sense of mixed

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REVIEW: The Mynabirds – ‘Lovers Know’ (Saddle Creek)

by Ed Biggs When she was one half of the now-defunct indie duo Georgie James in the late noughties, and now under her new performance name of The Mynabirds, Washington D.C.-cum-Omaha native Laura Burhenn has built herself a reputation for passionate, literate and soulful music spanning many genres. Her 2012 album Generals was a spectacular piece of ’60s influenced chamber pop, infected with soul and feminist passion, casting its writer as

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REVIEW: Albert Hammond Jr – ‘Momentary Masters’ (Vagrant)

by Ed Biggs With the best part of fifteen years under his belt as guitarist with The Strokes, it’s hard to believe that Albert Hammond Jr. has only just made his third solo album. Given the infrequent nature of their work, it’s surprising that he’s not found time to do more, especially when his new effort Momentary Masters is such terrific fun. Where The Strokes have spent every one of their

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REVIEW: Titus Andronicus – ‘The Most Lamentable Tragedy’ (Merge)

by Ed Biggs New Jersey punk rock four-piece Titus Andronicus made one of the most celebrated underground albums of the decade so far with their second effort, 2010’s The Monitor, an audacious concept album about the American Civil War that scraped the depths of the national psyche and came up with treasures aplenty. Their troubled lead singer, Patrick Stickles, won plenty of fans for his cuttingly incisive lyrics and his songs’

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REVIEW: Wilco – ‘Star Wars’ (dBPM / Anti)

by Ed Biggs Throughout their two-decade career, Wilco have been relatively unchanging in their musical disposition yet, strangely, have always been hard to pin down. For a time, they were arguably the best alternative rock act in the US, with some critics branding their kind-of-indie, kind-of-country, kind-of-rock sound and Jeff Tweedy’s subtle, highbrow lyrics and subject matter as ‘the American Radiohead’, comparing the two groups’ abilities to produce stylistically diverse albums

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REVIEW: Sleaford Mods – ‘Key Markets’ (Harbinger Sound)

by Ed Biggs One of the unlikeliest sensations of the decade so far has been Sleaford Mods, a duo consisting of instrumentalist Andrew Fearn and lyricist / polemicist Jason Williamson. Live, they’re one of the most talked-about British groups in years, with an entirely minimalist set-up. Take their recent Glastonbury performance: Fearn plays a pre-recorded track on his laptop and sips from a can of lager, while Williamson does all the

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